Why Have Your Rankings Dropped?

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Any online business should be regularly monitoring their organic rankings. But what do you do if you check up on your position within the organic search results, only to find that you’ve disappeared from the search results?
Dropping in the rankings can be stressful for any business, as even a few hours out of the top search results can result in big losses, both financially and organically.

When your rankings suddenly decline, your brand’s visibility also decreases, giving your competitors the advantage.
A drop is rankings can also lead to less traffic, revenue, engagement, and fewer enquiries. If you are an online-only business, this can be catastrophic, putting a strain on your finances until the problem is resolved – which, as SEO is not an overnight fix, could take some time.

As soon as you notice a problem, it is essential that you diagnose the issue as quickly as possible and start measures to put things right. The longer you leave it, the longer it will take for Google to identify your corrections and reinstate your rankings.

Keep reading to find out why your website may not be ranking, and how you can get back up on your feet.

Google Penalties

Google regularly change their algorithm to ensure that only the most relevant and high-quality websites appear within their search results. The problem is that Google never tell you when they are making these big changes to the algorithm, and are constantly making smaller modifications that could be devastating to individual industries and websites

Historically, it’s common for webmasters to experience a slight dip in their rankings when an algorithmic change has been made, however, to fall out of the search results all together typically means you’ve been hit with a Google Penalty.
Google penalties can either be the result of an algorithm change, or put on your website manually should your site not abide by Google’s guidelines. To check if you have been hit with a manual penalty, log in to your Google Search Console dashboard and, under the Search Traffic tab, click on ‘Manual Actions’. The report that you find will indicate whether your site has been penalised by Google.
If you discover that you have a manual penalty, you should follow Google’s instructions and request a review of your website in order to get the penalty lifted.

Redirects

If you have recently migrated your website and changed your URL structure, it is likely that you or your developer have put a series of redirects in place to redirect old URLs to the corresponding new URLs. However, if you did not have a full-proof site wide migration in place, then you may find that your website has fallen out of the rankings due to dropped page redirects that were set up incorrectly. You should always keep a copy of your old site URLs so you can clearly map where they are going to be redirected to prevent this happening.

Website Changes

In order to increase the usability of your website for SEO, there are a multitude of changes that you should be making to your website in order to succeed. However, if not implemented correctly, some changes can be detrimental to your rankings.
If your position has dropped because of something you have done on your website then, generally, these are the easiest problems to fix – you know what changes you’ve made!

Mistakes when updating sections of code, amending page content, or incorrectly redirecting URLs (as previously mentioned) can lower the value of your pages, making them less relevant to your keywords and therefore causing them to fall in the search results. Keep a record of all the changes you make to your website, and regularly monitor your ranking positions, to easily pinpoint if or when a drop in your rankings occurs, as well as the primary cause.

Changes to External Factors

External factors are much more difficult to control and monitor. Drops in rankings usually occur when external elements such as an authoritative link to your website being removed, or a competitor launching a new website with content much keyword rich and higher quality than your own. It is important that you regularly monitor the health of your website to know who is linking to you, what your competitors are doing, and how you can move with the times to continuously stay ahead of the curve.

So, if your business website has seen a drop in rankings, is this a sitewide issue, or does this only effect a specific subsection of your website? If rankings have dropped sitewide, then it is recommended that your business carry out a technical SEO audit to identify any underlying problems. If only a page or section of your site is impacted, simply review and optimise your content and other ranking factors, or revert back to a previous version of the page from before your ranking position fell.

Contact us now to find out how we can diagnose and fix your ranking problems!

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